Stories about animals

Is your bakra a terrorist?

A week ago or so you were perhaps meandering in the bakra mandi; looking for the perfect specimen to take home. You inspected 20 plus bakras, clutched each animal’s jaw to find out if your bakra-to-be has two or four teeth and sturdy horns – sharp enough to butcher other bakras in the mandi. You inquired about the weight of half a dozen cows, and went to check out that one camel in the neighbourhood also. After loitering around, you finally got down to business, put on your crafty airs and negotiated a deal. You walked out of the mandi with a strong looking, cinnamon dusted bakra. As you ...

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This Eid, there was no spirit of sacrifice for me

Six-year-old Osama ran hurriedly down the stairs of his apartment, as did the other kids. Children came rushing out of their houses, some from their homework and others from their video games. Mothers shrieked and grandmothers grumbled but to no avail. The street was soon swarming with kids of all ages and sizes, running towards something that seemed to possess a magnetic prowess. At length, the Pied Piper of Pakistan stopped, and the children stood around it, anticipating the descent of the much awaited cow. Excitement was widespread in the crowd, every child and every man was discussing in hushed ...

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I am a girl and I love going to the mandi

It is considered a universal fact that a cattle market (mandi) is no place for a woman. “It’s a guy thing”, they say. “What would you do in a mandi?” They ask. “Are you sure you want to spoil that dress of yours while going there?” They ridicule. However, it wasn’t until I was physically present in a cattle market that I understood why the mandi was no place for a woman. And no, it had nothing to do with the animals. It had more to do with the people who were there to buy and sell. For me, they were the real ...

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When one starts questioning the rituals of Eidul Azha

Eidul Azha in a rural set-up has jarring differences when compared to how we celebrate this Eid in cities. I live and celebrate my Eid in Karachi, but if I celebrate it in my ancestral village in Khairpur, Sindh, this is what would be different. The animals would be much less expensive, much more readily available, and the sense of community in sharing the meat would be the focus. Less affluent neighbours and relatives will casually come to the house where an animal is sacrificed and ask candidly for a share of the meat. The ones giving it out will not look ...

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Imran Khan versus Saad Rafique: In defence of Sheru

While surfing the net I stumbled on Saad Rafique’s harangue in the Parliament, berating Imran Khan for owning a dog called Sheru.  He seemed rather upset at the animal’s domestic privileges and rebuked Imran for allowing Sheru to sit on a drawing room sofa while showering heaps of affection on him. In his tirade against his political opponent, Rafique emphasised how keeping dogs and being affectionate towards them is against our cultural/religious values. Now, I happen to be a staunch supporter of animal rights, with a special place in my heart for dogs. Hence, I do not take kindly to ...

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Was he a human or a donkey?

For the past few days now, every night on my way home from work, I’ve been seeing an injured donkey lying in the corner of a dirty street near my house. One of its front legs is broken and I am sure it cannot move. Every night I plan to do something to help it but in the morning, it completely slips my mind. I feel the helplessness of the donkey – if, God forbid, one of my own legs were injured or broken, I wouldn’t be able to survive keeping in mind the ample amount of work I have to do. My heart ...

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Isloo boys, lion cubs in Lahore and a tale of lunacy

The triad of sociopathy refers to three behavioural characteristics that are associated with violent tendencies including murder and aggressive sexual behaviour. These characteristics include fire-setting, violence towards animals and bedwetting. A combination of any two is considered a sign for worry. Then there is compensation, a strategy whereby people cover up for their shortcomings, real or perceived, by excelling in other areas of life. This, in itself is quite normal. Children keep playing different sports till they find one they are good at and the ones who are subpar at all of them will usually end up burying themselves in books and getting good ...

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Wildlife: Cherished in Kenya, butchered in Pakistan?

Wildlife refers to plants and animals that have not been domesticated and exist in their natural environment. Hence, it is a national heritage and should therefore be preserved for future generations. Wildlife also opens employment opportunities for many including in the fields of security, game reserves and lodges. In addition, some plant species are used for medicinal purposes and also provide researchers with valuable information regarding nature. As a nature lover, I recently availed the opportunity to visit the National Park of Kenya. It would be a gross understatement to say that it was a spectacular experience! Unfortunately, it was also ...

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Cruelty to animals is not ‘Living on the Edge’

I recently caught the season finale of Living on the Edge (aired on October 16, 2013) and was appalled by the animal abuse taking place in the show. For those unfamiliar with Living on the Edge, it is a reality TV show in which contestants are given various challenges to see who is the most ‘daring’. It is supposedly Pakistan’s ‘highest rated show amongst music channels’. While many critics consider the language and content to sometimes be in bad taste, my major objection is with the cruelty that the animals go through during these ‘dares’. In the grand finale, amongst other ...

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A father’s wish on Eidul Azha

Azhar stood at the bus stop, waiting for the bus to come. His eyes filled with tears and standing there in the heat of the scorching sun just made everything seem even more dismal. Before he could stop himself, a helpless sigh escaped him; then, straightening his shoulders, he took a deep breath and pretended to look eagerly towards the corner of the road from where the bus was to come. Yet, as much as he tried, his mind kept taking him back to the comfort of his boss’s air-conditioned office. He still couldn’t believe that his employer had asked ...

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